Going through some seller searches, it’s very definite that listing research tools (hammertap and terapeak) have some serious tweaking to do with their software platforms before we can consider them serious tools after ebay’s policy changes this year. Research on seller competitors and reports have stats way off and not even close to a ball-park figure.
One main reason people use these research tools is their ability to look up recent trends within the past week or month on how a certain product has performed and tracking competitors sells to find new products and trends to take the guess work out of listings to reduce listing fees and guesstimate success ratios. Let’s take a look.
What I found: For starters, they’ve been unable to update 30 day listings formats in any of their stats. As many ebay sellers start to pump their auction out with Fixed Price 30, having these stats to make better decisions is a great way to take a lot of the guess work out. As you can see below, weeks after the new updates, FP 30 items are neither listed as a listing type or duration making many sellers who’s product fall under this category useless for research.
Falling along this same idea, trends change so fast on ebay in a 7-30 day period, that completed auctions can no longer be a standard for research data. Most sellers want to know what’s sold or is selling within the past few days or weeks, not over months and months of data.
If I wanted to do a search for “Unlocked Motorola V3 Phones” …using this tool I am only going to see finished auctions and BIN items that were successful/unsuccessful. But when I do a search (not under completed and on current items) I see dozens of fixed price 30 auctions up and selling WELL.
With the current programming, Terapeak and Hammertap will HAVE to implement some type of current listing data to flow into completed auction data. Until a 30 day listing ends, (which is way to long to grab real time data in E-Commerce for current trends), sellers will be unable to really get a feel of how their items might sell with post-sales data.
Ex: I see an auction for Motorola F3 Unlocked Cell Phone up that is a featured FP30 listing. Under purchases, it’s sold 350 phones in the past 10 days and still has 20 days left. Terapeak isn’t going to take those 350 phones into consideration till the auction ends in 20 more days. Two other sellers have similar auctions up accounting for over 700 purchases on FP30 with at least 15-20 days left before they end. Only 1900 of these phones sell per month leaving about 30% of sales data out of the equation and taking. Even more importantly, neglecting the MOST RECENT sales data. By the time these end, prices can easily change in the cell phone category leaving sellers with unreliable up-to-date research data.
Competitor research is also completely off. After researching our user names sales in the past 7 days, this is the screen shot that I get.
These number are completely off. Our inventory system gives us very accurate reports on weekly/daily sales and we actually averaged about $18,000/day this week and by tomorrow will have done about $80,000 in gross sales. Again, terapeak is taking ONLY completed auctions into consideration and is unreliable because the tool won’t current (not yet ended) FP30 auctions into their equation.
We also averaged 380 packages per 24 hour period this week, taking reliable reports from shipworks. Terapeak is saying we only sold 973 pieces.
Conclusion: I think they’ll eventually change this but have to really think hard on how to merge completed auction and current sales data and even more importantly, represent it in a way that benefits their customers. Also thinking about the options the users will have to graphically or numerically represent data around these new issues is sure to be a large task in their R&D departments.
For others, research might not be as off. It all depends on the category and nature of products being sold as many categories will not be selling in FP30 because it doesn’t make any sense. Other categories such as consumer electronics, DVD’s, CD’s etc are sure to feel this effect.
Tip: All sellers should do a basic search from the main page of ebay.com to check current FP30 auctions. Check their success, prices, keywords etc as these research tools will not have accurate data till after 30 days (if they make the update by then)